Gov. Bruce Rauner may be doing his best to ignore the presidential race, however his political opponents are flooding the airwaves with a TV commercial that suggests he supports GOP nominee Donald Trump.
On Monday, Rauner dismissed the political ad, which uses a several-months-old comment he made.
"This is the silly season. I don't pay any attention. We're focused on Illinois," Rauner said Monday after an event marking the creation a council to study burdensome rules and regulations on businesses.
The ad features controversial Trump comments, repeatedly cutting to Rauner saying "I will support the Republican party's nominee."
Rauner's soundbite was recorded last spring when at least a half dozen Republicans still competed in the primaries. He has never directly endorsed Trump individually and did not attend the GOP convention that nominated Trump.
The 30-second ad was produced by a Democratic political action committee that already has spent hundreds of thousands of dollar broadcasting it.
"Its rough-elbowed, sharp-elbowed American politics," said state rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton.
Roskam sympathized with the governor, as he has run hot and cold on Trump's candidacy. When asked if he thinks Trump can win, Roskam responded: "Oh heaven, help me. I gotta go."
Despite the ad, Rauner is holding firm on his refusal to discuss anything to do with presidential politics.
"I'm focused on Illinois, reforming our economy, growing our jobs, getting term limits and fair maps, getting value for taxpayers, trying to bring down our property tax burden. I'm very focused on Illinois," Rauner said.
The governor has never disavowed Trump, who is expected to run well in many downstate Illinois counties. Rauner hopes those same countries elect Republican lawmakers who might support the governor's agenda in Springfield.
Gov. Rauner dismisses political ad suggesting he supports Trump